Making The Case For Doing Away With Manual Dialing

There are many members of the SIClytics team who have extensive experience in call centre environments. They can recall the days when they’d show up for work, sit at their cubicles and have to sift through piles of paper in order to locate the contact information for all of the leads they would end up calling within the day. Needless to say, it was quite the time-wasting practice.

Manual dialing is now a thing of the past. Or, at least, it should be. Making your phone agents look through printed sheets of phone numbers is not only a waste of time but – you guessed it – a waste of money. We’re not just talking about saving paper here. We’re talking about the fact that you stand to get much more productive work days out of your employees when you invest in an automatic dialing system for your call centre.

Why use an automatic dialer?

Automatic dialers help your phone agents to spend a lot more time talking to leads and a lot less time trying to locate their phone numbers. Consider the amount of time it takes to review paper records, select a lead, find the lead’s phone number, dial the number and then document what happened on the call using handwritten notes. Manual dialing forces agents to spend a lot of time off of the phone.

“Manual dialing tends to be time-consuming and wasteful of contact centre efforts,” writes Madeleine Coe on Wired.com, “With each manual call, the agent has to get the number, physically dial it, and then wait for the person on the other line to pick up. It means your contact centre agents waste a lot of time dealing with answering machines, wrong parties, no answers, and that horrific cacophony when they accidentally reach a fax line. Ugh. That’s a lot of time they’re not spending talking to real live customers.”

Consider the time it takes to review handwritten notes before dialing up that lead a second or third time. Today’s automatic dialers do a lot more than simply contact leads with the click of a button. They also provide online note keeping and the creation of dispositions that enable you to categorize your calls based on the responses you receive.

“Auto-dialing takes all the guesswork out of manual dialing with the automated process,” insists Coe, “Agents can get typically only 15 minutes of real talk time per hour (not including finalization and reviewing call details) with manual dialing, but auto-dialing doubles that to 30 minutes of talk time.”

At SIClytics, we offer Lead DaFeeder.

It is a simple web-based telemarketing software that allows even the most inexperienced computer users to manage campaign dialing and dispositions. Lead DaFeeder has revolutionized how web-based technology helps small and medium-sized businesses to manage their telemarketing, customer acquisition and political survey strategies.

It delivers a feature-rich set of processes that enhances effectiveness, drives sales, improves customer satisfaction and provides insight into performance. Supported by administration capabilities that adapt to how your company operates, Lead DaFeeder is delighting companies and employees of all sizes across a broad range of industry sectors.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call SIClytics at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

Why It’s Important To Return Every Phone Call

Return every phone call. That should be a mantra of every business owner. You know the old “when opportunity knocks” adage, right? Well, not returning your phone calls is no different than ignoring a knock at the door. Not only is it considered rude (read: damaging to your company’s reputation), but it practically ensures that you’ve missed out on a business opportunity.

Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between missing a call and not returning a message. Most business owners experience busy work days that don’t allow them to grab the phone every time it rings. The majority of consumers understand this. What they can’t understand, however, is the inability of a business owner to return a message within a 24 hour period.

Never let it be lost on you that consumers know they have options.

If you can’t return a call within a timely fashion, you can be assured that the person who called you has already called someone else. This is especially important information for sole proprietors. When you are the only person working for your business, you have no other choice but to return all of your missed phone calls yourself.

Here’s the bottom line: make time to return every call! “Every time you fail to return a call, you have missed an opportunity,” declares Patricia Pollack on BizJournals.com, “It may be an opportunity to strengthen a business contact or to reinforce your marketing image or even to close a sale. Manage your time more efficiently, and make the time to return calls.”

Don’t assume your customers will call back.

Pollack goes on to note that far too many business owners work with the idea that if a call is “really important”, the customer will call back. She stresses the fact that this is definitely the wrong attitude to have.

“If a reporter calls you to get information about your new product, and you fail to promptly return that call, that reporter is not going to call again,” she writes, “If a potential client calls you to discuss retaining your services and you fail to promptly return that call, that person is not going to call again.”

Play phone tag, if necessary.

Many business owners dread the idea of having to leave messages themselves. They figure that if they don’t get in touch with the individuals who called them, they’ll be leaving messages of their own. This is a process that can go on and on depending on the availability of both parties. It’s popularly referred to as “phone tag”. Pollack’s perspective on this: So what? Play the game! It only stands to garner your company some business.

She does, however, offer some advice to help keep phone tag games to a minimum. “When you return the call and have to leave a message, give the caller a day and time when you know you will be in the office and available to answer the phone,” Pollack advises, “Give them the option of communicating by e-mail if you know that it will be difficult to connect via telephone.”

Contact SIClytics to learn about how our Missed Call Notifications services can help you to never miss out on an opportunity to follow up on a missed call! Call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

3 Keys To Providing Effective Feedback To Your Call Centre Reps

As any call centre manager knows (or should know), providing feedback to call centre phone agents is an integral part of promoting business success. It’s of vital importance that employees who work on the phone are given regular tips about how to better overcome objections, provide accurate answers and calm irate customers. As well, advice on how to boost sales is always a big help!

But what are the keys to making the feedback you provide as effective as possible? Here are three:

1. Use the “sandwich technique”.

At SIClytics, we’ve long heralded the act of placing negative feedback in between two slices of positive feedback. It’s important to remember that your employees are people – people with feelings. The more you do to support their emotional well-being, the better at their jobs they will be. There’s no question about it. When offering your feedback, be sure to include ample amounts of praise while also helping out with areas of concern.

On TalkDesk.com, Shauna Geraghty champions this technique. “Start the coaching session with something they have recently improved, are consistently doing well, or a strength,” she advises, “This will put the agent at ease and increase the likelihood that they will be receptive to what comes next. After you provide negative feedback, make sure you end the coaching session on a positive note by again highlighting something they are doing well.”

2. Accept feedback from your reps in return.

All feedback sessions should be two-way streets. It’s important to hear, directly from your phone agents, about any issues they may be having. Remember that they are on the “front lines”, speaking directly to your customers on a daily basis. They are aware of the needs, concerns and requests of your customer base. Hearing them out will help you to develop even better business practices.

“When you’re giving feedback, listen to your agents,” advises Texas-based Electronic Voice Services, “There may be a reason they do things a certain way even though it violates your company’s policy — a reason you need to know about so you can address it. Once you’ve discussed the behaviours you want an agent to change, work with them to create an action plan to bring about the desired changes.”

3. Participate in some role play.

If you’d like to see just how effective your feedback has been, engage your phone agent in a make-believe call to see how well he/she has adjusted. It’s a good way to test just how much his/her performance has been enhanced by your help. Naturally, you can use the exercise to correct any mistakes or offer extra pieces of advice that will help your rep on actual calls.

“Start by selecting a recent interaction that they had with a customer that could be optimized,” suggests Geraghty, “Then, role play that scenario making the agent the customer and you the agent. Once the agent has an understanding of what you would say in that situation, switch roles. When they are role playing the agent, provide them with helpful feedback so they can tweak their approach accordingly.”

To provide you with greater ease in delivering feedback, SIClytics offers Live Call Monitoring services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

5 Major Benefits Of Using A Call Tracking Service

The concept of call tracking uses different phone numbers for each of your online and offline marketing campaigns. In other words, it’s a system by which you use one number for your billboards, another for your radio spots and another for your online banner ads. Which number generates the most calls to your business? Call tracking is what will give you the answer!

As you may have already surmised, the benefits of using a call tracking service are many. Here are five major ones:

1. It helps you to track your ROI.

Quite obviously, when you discover which of your marketing campaigns are driving the most calls in to your business, you’ll better determine how to spend your advertising dollars going forward. Tracking your returns on investment is huge in the saving/making money game. By ceasing certain ad campaigns that aren’t particularly working and investing more into effective strategies, you will ultimately generate better profits.

2. You’ll discover your peak hours.

Call tracking doesn’t just help you to figure out which of your advertising campaigns are the most effective. It also informs you of the times when the most amount of calls come in to your company. By knowing the times of each day when you receive the most calls, you can better schedule the shifts of your staff members. Clearly, manning your phone lines with an adequate number of phone agents is imperative to providing optimum customer service.

3. It helps you to better train your staff.

Call tracking services also provide call recording capabilities. This enables you to properly monitor calls in order to pinpoint areas of concern in the performances of your phone agents. Providing helpful feedback, as you’re likely aware, is an incredibly important part of providing excellent customer service. Ensuring that each member of your team is fully equipped with the knowledge necessary to answer questions and quell concerns is of key importance to your company’s overall success.

4. It allows you to document customer trends.

Which products generate the most interest in your customers? Which of your services do they find the least helpful? These and other questions can be answered through the use of call tracking technology. You’ll also learn about the issues that each of your customers face and gain a better understanding of how your company can help to resolve them.

5. It provides you with accurate information about your callers.

Okay, allow us to break it down. At SIClytics, our Call Tracking services provide you with a lot of useful information. It includes the total number of calls you receive and how many of them were answered versus missed. It also informs you, not only of the duration of each call, but of how many of your calls lasted under one minute, spanned 1 to 2 minutes or lasted over three minutes.

With our Call Tracking services, you’ll also learn the average talk time per answered call, the day that generates the most calls, how many calls you get in an hour, the number of calls you get each day of the week and the number of calls generated from each Canadian province!

To take advantage of our Call Tracking services, please don’t hesitate to call SIClytics at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

2 Techniques That Help To Build Strong Rapport Over The Phone

As we pointed out in last week’s blog, there are big differences between providing customer service over the phone and providing customer service in person. When you are face-to-face with a customer, it’s so much easier to use non-verbal forms of communication. Hand gestures, facial expressions and other types of body language help for customer service reps to convey that they are friendly, polite and knowledgeable about what they’re offering.

When you are on the phone, however, you don’t have the benefit of utilizing any of the above mentioned forms of non-verbal communication. Naturally, everything must be communicated verbally over the phone. So, it stands to reason, that it can be a little harder for customer service reps to develop strong rapports with the customers being serviced.

What techniques can you use to build a strong rapport over the phone? Here are two:

1. Speak “with”, not “at” your customer.

There is a big difference between “with” and “at” in the world of conversations. “At” is pretty much a one-way street. When one person does all the talking – especially in an effort to push a sale – little is done to form a bond between the two parties in the conversation. “With” entails that you are taking the time to listen to what the other person has to say. It involves asking questions so that the customer is given the freedom to communicate what he/she really wants.

“When taking a customer service call, try to engage the customer in conversation rather than turn the call into a mechanical event in which you ask questions to fill out a report,” advises George N. Root III on Chron.com, “Avoid small talk, but try to mix in conversational aspects about the product and the problem the customer is having. Try to move the customer away from any anger toward your company and focus on solving the problem.”

2. Practice the “honesty is the best policy” method.

Remember that your objective is to have a real conversation. And keep in mind that, in order to do so, you need to show a measure of respect to the person you’re speaking with. It pays to be honest. Don’t make claims that you can’t back up and don’t make promises you can’t keep. There’s almost nothing worse than being caught in a lie in the business world. It’s a guaranteed way to lose a customer for good.

Root insists that you take ownership. This is especially important when you’re dealing with an irate customer. “Do your best to try and remedy the situation; if you have to pass the call off to the next level, try to be there to make the transition with the customer to the new representative,” he writes, “If you are able to follow up on the call, do so to make sure the problem was resolved.”

At SIClytics, we offer business owners and call centre managers alike the opportunity to strengthen the performances of their phone agents through our Live Call Monitoring and Telemarketing Reporting services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com!